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Last Book You Read and Rate It (Part II)

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Old
05-03-2013, 05:12 PM
  #576
Toblerone
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The Princess Bride by William Goldman

One of those rare cases where I much prefer the movie. I had no idea how this book was put together so it was a bit of a surprise for me. I suppose some might find Goldman's interjections and comments on the "original text" endearing...I found them annoying. The tale itself was good and I enjoyed it when I was able to get in a rhythm without being interrupted by Goldman. Didn't care at all for the sequel (or whatever it is) "Buttercup's Baby"...was boring and had no real ending.

The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay

I've been becoming a big fan of Kay and this book didn't disappoint for me. Kay is definitely a slower storyteller and there was no huge climax for this story, but I still really enjoyed it. I like how he branches off into the different characters and their storylines but still brings them all together. I also like Kay's use of the subtle "old world" magic...it's there and present, but does not overwhelm the main story.

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05-03-2013, 06:41 PM
  #577
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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

A semi autobiographical book about the the hunt for the American Dream in a drug induced haze. This is my first real run-in with Thompson, I have previously read a few of his letters, but not anything significant. His writing style takes a bit getting used to, but it quickly becomes quite natural to read and flows quite easily. Thompson really managed to drag me into the story and make me believe it's crazy logic and reality. Towards the end of the book even the logic of Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo seems perfectly natural after having been desensitized to it.

I found the book really enjoyable, and a quite easy read, because of how well it seemed to flow. Thematically I was somewhat lost at times because of the many references to 60's culture and events, which I due to age was quite far removed from.

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05-05-2013, 01:16 AM
  #578
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A Universe from Nothing, by Lawrence Krauss: Krauss is a theoretical physicist and atheist who discusses how the underlying laws of nature as expressed in quantum mechanics and general relativity support the overwhelmingly strong probability that "something", in this case, the universe, literally came from nothing. His discussion includes a detailed examination of the inflationary period that occurred just after the Big Bang, the role that quantum fluctuations played in the creation of radiation and matter, and the counter intuitive notion that even the emptiest of nothings contain not only energy but complex reactions of nearly infinitesimally short duration that nonetheless directly contribute to the creation of matter. He, also, discusses alternate theories, the most interesting of which entails the notion of a "multiverse," an entity that might contain an infinite number of universes, of which we just happen to live in one of the very lucky ones that by fortunate happenstance provided all the necessary conditions for creating and sustaining life. Finally, he gives God a thorough trouncing. I was able to grasp the general shape of his arguments, but I can make no claims to understanding most of the science that he was talking about. Difficult though the book is at times, I still found it quite fascinating.

Side comment: Krauss and most theoretical physicists in general really don't like the idea of a multiverse, and you can see why. Physicists prefer chasing the Holy Grail of a single unified theory of the very big and the very small that explains everything elegantly. The multiverse is like a cheap cosmic trick to them. But it seems like a rather cool solution to me. I haven't kept track but there seems like there are dozens of variables, such as the amount of helium in the universe, that if any of these factors were just a little off by the very tiniest of margins, life could not exist in this universe. In other words, the universe is fine-tuned for our existence beyond belief, beyond all rational likelihood, beyond even the wildest science-fiction type speculations. Physicists search to explain why: the multiverse looks at these massive uses of brain power and says: "Dudes, dudes, stop thinking so hard. There are a trillion gazillion universes out there that are totally barren or are endless fields of radiation or contain **** you never dreamed of. However, you, you incredibly lucky basterds, just happen to live in one of the very few universes in which all the necessary elements line up perfectly for life. There is no unified theory necessary--blind, random chance of an order that you can't even imagine is all that's going on here." I kind of like that idea.


Last edited by kihei: 05-05-2013 at 10:48 PM.
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Old
05-13-2013, 02:57 PM
  #579
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The Ginger Man, by J. P. Donleavy: Sebastian Dangerfield on the prowl in Dublin is one of literature's lovable reprobates, at least he must have seemed that way in 1955. Spousal abuse puts a damper on some of the fun, but this is still a classic comic novel about a man whose pursuit of whiskey and women takes precedence over everything else in his life. His misadventures are many and often hilarious, and Donleavy's way with words and ability to come up with a memorable phrase give the book a psychological depth and a fair sized portion of melancholy that partly account for its long shelf life.

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05-15-2013, 04:26 PM
  #580
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A Visit From The Good Squad by Jennifer Egan

The book ultimately revolves around the journeys of both music executive Bennie and his assistant Sasha. Jumping from the 60's and every other decade in between up to the current near future. In style it is pretty similar to Cloud Atlas in style, but not as complex. Ultimately it is set up as a bunch of interlocking short stories. Overall it was an entertaining novel, but was just lacking that substance.

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Old
05-16-2013, 10:40 PM
  #581
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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline:

9/10




Man, this one was a lot of fun. I can't remember the last time I read a book where I rooting for a character as much as Wade/Parzival. If you're into video games, or 80's culture at all then this is a must read imo.

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05-17-2013, 07:46 AM
  #582
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I've read it for about 5 times already, but I just can't get enough.

The Hitchhiker's Guide To Galaxy

Great read, 9/10

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Old
05-17-2013, 07:48 AM
  #583
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sabresfan129103 View Post
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline:

9/10




Man, this one was a lot of fun. I can't remember the last time I read a book where I rooting for a character as much as Wade/Parzival. If you're into video games, or 80's culture at all then this is a must read imo.
I actually read the same book about a month a go. Absolutely great. Also, it was a lot of fun to read about that 80's trivia. I knew some of it but a lot was new info for me.

I also would give it 9/10

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Old
05-24-2013, 05:57 PM
  #584
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Epitaph for a Spy, by Eric Ambler: It is not too much of a stretch to say that Ambler is the father of the modern-day spy novel. He pioneered a genre that Le Carre, Fleming and others would expand, but Ambler's own work remains first rate, it being well plotted, character driven and finely written. This work from 1938 finds Josef Vadassy, our stateless hero, trapped in a French resort where he is forced to help the police catch a dangerous spy who has inadvertently and disastrously switched cameras with him. The characters are richly developed and believable, the twists and turns clever and convincing, and the milieu very nicely established. As vintage genre works go, this is a good one, perfect for the beach or that long plane ride.

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05-24-2013, 05:58 PM
  #585
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I read the Phil Esposito biography, I got nothing out of it except for the fact that it was hilarious, Esposito is a bit crazy, and most hockey players from the 70s were a bit crazy. On to the Carl Brewer book.

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Old
05-28-2013, 04:44 PM
  #586
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The Secret Lives of Sports Fans (The Science of Sports Obsession) by Eric Simons

Very interesting look at the psychological and physiological aspect of humans and their "fandom". Great if you are a fan of a team to compare notes about others and great for a non-fan to understand why we do what we do.

SLOSF.jpg


Last edited by Steelhead16: 05-28-2013 at 05:52 PM.
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Old
05-28-2013, 04:50 PM
  #587
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The Carlyle Deception

Written by a friend of a friend


Quote:
Ever beat an opponent at their own game? Feels good, doesn't it.

Lambert Greene must transform himself from dedicated family man into a cunning chameleon, willing to risk everything for his ultimate goal.

Lambert adapts and survives on adrenaline-driven desperation, instinct, and the judicious use of brute force as he confronts the worst of civilization -- the Taliban, opium smugglers, weapons merchants, corrupt locals and foreigners, and an insidious new, expanding regional threat. In his new line of work, no government will protect him. He'll learn that more than money, trust is the most valuable currency.
I enjoyed it. It was easy reading. It was a situation I never thought of before.
I would give it a 'recommend'.

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Old
06-06-2013, 01:11 PM
  #588
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Paris: The Novel, by Edward Rutherfurd: A massive 800 page+ work that combines tracing a number of fictional family histories down through the ages with a great deal of well researched history. Rutherfurd has done this before with London and New York, books I haven't read and am not likely to read. I enjoyed this work, early on anyway, and found out a lot about Paris that I didn't know. Rutherfurd is a good story teller, although the need to get all that history wedged into the story sometimes makes the narrative seem a bit forced. The book goes on so long that its "manufactured" nature eventually began to annoy me a little. The book doesn't seem artful or vital as much as it seems an efficient commercial transaction--something artificially created to meet an audience's preconceived need, not something which a writer felt compelled to compose. It's a *****y complaint as basically I did get what I wanted. But I couldn't help wonder who actually reads this stuff normally, this stuff being historical fiction written by contemporary authors. Matrons with tiny dogs, perhaps? More to the point and a less snobbish criticism as well, while I did learn useful information about Parisian history, it was delivered in a bland, non-analytical, English-language guidebook sort of way that provided me with little understanding of its context. It made me appreciate even more Adam Gopnik's non-fiction work Paris to the Moon (which I recently reviewed as well, #562), because that book does an infinitely superior job explaining the Parisian/French perspective from the inside looking out. For anyone interested in Paris, I would recommend that work over this present one easily.


Last edited by kihei: 06-06-2013 at 04:31 PM.
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06-06-2013, 02:46 PM
  #589
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The Wise Man's Fear - Patrick Rothfus

2nd book in his Kingkiller Chronicles series.

This is a very good book. Much better than the first one, imho. For fans of fantasy, this is a good read that plays on some of the more silly mainstays of the genre. There is magic but not of the far-out warrened variety like you get in Steven Erikson books. I daresay I have enjoyed this book and it leaves you with a smurk. Kvothe - the title character is east to identify with and he has a lot of good times learning martial arts, bedding hot ferrys, and getting even.

4*'s


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06-06-2013, 05:20 PM
  #590
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9/10. Riveting

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Old
06-08-2013, 01:59 PM
  #591
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I read it in high school like everybody else, but I didn't really "get" it then. Now that I've reread it almost a decade later I appreciate it so much more. It's amazing how well Bradbury was able to predict where our society was going to go. We're obviously not burning books yet, but in my experience people are much more interested in the families on the television (Teen Mom, Jersey Shore, etc.) than reading books. This a perfect example of a timeless classic, and a powerful warning for the future.

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06-08-2013, 06:02 PM
  #592
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9/10

Some seriously solid relationship advice in there.

 
Old
06-09-2013, 01:11 PM
  #593
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Just read all 3 books of Riyria Revelations by Michael J Sullivan. I Loved them. I've heard good things about them for a while and I'm so glad I picked them up. I'd give the entire series an 8/10. Fantastic reads.


Also I just read book 7 of the Dresden Files: Dead Beat. Another solid entry in the series. They all follow the same formula, but Jim Butcher does a good job of keeping things interesting. 7/10

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06-09-2013, 08:15 PM
  #594
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Again, a book with potentially limited appeal - but if you are a fan of Tolkien and/or early 20th Century history, this is a compelling read/listen. 8.5/10




Many critics have tried to pin Lord of the Rings as being some allegory on the Second Word War - an assertion that Tolkien utterly rejected. Tolkien and his work was shaped by his experiences in the The Great War (World War I) - where an entire generation of English youth with expectations of greatness, were cut down on the fields of Flanders and on the Somme.

“To be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than in 1939 … by 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead.” - JRR Tolkien

John Garth's work (part biography / part literary treatise) focuses on the Tolkien's experiences before (his experiences, too short friendships, and early literary interests and creations at King Edwards School and then Oxford) and during the War (where Tolkien served as a signals officer in the trenches during the Battle of the Somme, and was later sent home due to disease). Garth discusses Tolkien's early literary works (poetry, created languages, and the germ of his mythology - the unkown name Eärendil he came across in an old Anglo-Saxon text) before the war and the early development of his legendarium during/after the war. The first compendium of what would become the Silmarillion - The Book of Lost Tales, later published by Christopher Tolkien as the first two volumes of his 12 volume collection of his father's unpublished works - was written by Tolkien convalescing in 1917.

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06-09-2013, 09:18 PM
  #595
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I'm in the middle of Dan Brown's new book, Inferno. It's very good so far. I'll give it a review when Im done.

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06-10-2013, 10:36 AM
  #596
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kihei View Post


Paris: The Novel, by Edward Rutherfurd: A massive 800 page+ work that combines tracing a number of fictional family histories down through the ages with a great deal of well researched history. Rutherfurd has done this before with London and New York, books I haven't read and am not likely to read. I enjoyed this work, early on anyway, and found out a lot about Paris that I didn't know. Rutherfurd is a good story teller, although the need to get all that history wedged into the story sometimes makes the narrative seem a bit forced. The book goes on so long that its "manufactured" nature eventually began to annoy me a little. The book doesn't seem artful or vital as much as it seems an efficient commercial transaction--something artificially created to meet an audience's preconceived need, not something which a writer felt compelled to compose. It's a *****y complaint as basically I did get what I wanted. But I couldn't help wonder who actually reads this stuff normally, this stuff being historical fiction written by contemporary authors. Matrons with tiny dogs, perhaps? More to the point and a less snobbish criticism as well, while I did learn useful information about Parisian history, it was delivered in a bland, non-analytical, English-language guidebook sort of way that provided me with little understanding of its context. It made me appreciate even more Adam Gopnik's non-fiction work Paris to the Moon (which I recently reviewed as well, #562), because that book does an infinitely superior job explaining the Parisian/French perspective from the inside looking out. For anyone interested in Paris, I would recommend that work over this present one easily.


I liked his New York book quite a bit so I picked this up last week, haven't started to read it yet but I had fears about this kind of thing as the New York one goes down that road in a number of chapters. But I also didn't go in expecting great history as much as a novel based on a city's past. Maybe different outlooks going in provided different thoughts towards Rutherford's work?

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Old
06-10-2013, 10:39 AM
  #597
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-22838993

Terrible news for scifi fans. Iain (M) Banks has died. One of my personal favourite authors, always eagerly awaited his new editions. Sadly, his next book, The Quarry, will be his last.

If you're into science fiction, read his work. Now.

http://www.iain-banks.net/

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06-10-2013, 12:50 PM
  #598
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProstheticConscience View Post
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-22838993

Terrible news for scifi fans. Iain (M) Banks has died. One of my personal favourite authors, always eagerly awaited his new editions. Sadly, his next book, The Quarry, will be his last.

If you're into science fiction, read his work. Now.

http://www.iain-banks.net/
Saw that today also, very depressing. One of my favorite authors as well. Tremendous thinker and writer.

For any that haven't read Banks and are interesting in checking out any of his sf books there's no right or wrong order to read them in. Most of them are set in a common post-scarcity future called The Culture. While some characters and themes recur across multiple books, each book is self-contained. I would probably list Excession and The Algebraist as my favorites among his works.

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06-10-2013, 04:43 PM
  #599
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Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Interesting premise where aliens visit, don't give a hoot that we're here and leave. The real story is how humanity deals with the artifiacts they leave behind as if it were trash left behind after a "roadside picnic." Some have no use, one powers cars indefinitely and one mysterious and yet to be obtained artifiact is said to grant wishes. The main character is a "stalker" who makes a living by retrieving alien artifiacts from a quarantined zone and selling them to the highest bidder, be it an official research institute or a shady person with cash in hand.

Really enjoyed this book. Its split up into 4 sections, 3 of which focus on the main character and one on a good friend of the main character. 8/10, would read again.

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06-10-2013, 09:45 PM
  #600
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelhead16 View Post
The Secret Lives of Sports Fans (The Science of Sports Obsession) by Eric Simons

Very interesting look at the psychological and physiological aspect of humans and their "fandom". Great if you are a fan of a team to compare notes about others and great for a non-fan to understand why we do what we do.

Attachment 64899
Gonna have to pick that up

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